An approach to conceptualization of power for a critical CCM
06 - Präsentation
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Power discrepancies, especially, asymmetrical power relations among cultural contexts manifest on multiple levels (organizational, societal, national and international etc.) along with identity (critical diversity) markers whether they are biological (gender, sexuality, age, race etc.) and/or socio-cultural (religion, language, ethnicity, nationality of origin, social status etc.). However, it is not very clear how power is conceptualized within Critical Cross-Cultural Management Studies. Cultural models with essentialist characteristics such as Hofstede’s model of culture tend to reproduce those asymmetrical power relations and reinforce those stereotypic distinctions of otherness (Nathan, 2015). In this paper, an approach to conceptualization of power drawing from sociological and political theories is presented and discussed. It is mainly from the works of Nathan (2010) in which he argues that asymmetrical power relations arise due to three basic social facts: i. human diversity is inevitable; i.e. we differ in our multiple intersecting identities and capabilities in pursuing our complex of purposes; ii. we live in an ethical plural society; i.e. we differ in our ideas and lived experiences of what is a good life for us; and iii. we are interdependent (including intergenerational) in pursuing our complex of purposes. These were derived from Dilthey’s social interactionism (see Nathan, 2010). These basic social facts invariably introduce asymmetrical power relations even within liberal democratic societies for social participation and engagement. In this regard, we need to move away from explaining culture from essentialist perspectives to non-essentialist perspectives in order to understand the meanings of those who participate in the social world from their viewpoints but not from an observer’s interpretation (Nathan, 2015). Moreover, identities need to be understood as multiple intersecting collective identities as well as personal ones instead of giving priority to a singular notion of identity. Meanings and identities may change over time and therefore it is also important to understand the dynamic nature of these attributes and resist reifying meanings of those identities and ossify individuals in their identities. This paper attempts to show how power may be conceived from sociological and political theoretical perspectives and then show the implications of asymmetrical power relations within critical CCM. Finally, it attempts to show how we may overcome certain power structures within organizational and political settings.